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Honda Civic GX & HOV Lane Access



  • epnfrnepnfrn Posts: 87
    ikir -- congratulations on your new car! yes, the answer is that bridges are free during carpool hours only. beyond that there is still a lot of confusion ... some will say you need a fastrak, some will say no (i say no!)

    i waited until i got my plates before applying, and though i've heard of people applying prior to that, i thing you're lucky if that works. i, like many people, got rejected the first time i applied for stickers. i highly recommend writing a letter to include with your app describing in clear terms that this is not a hybrid, but rather an alternative fuel vehicle, and therefore gets the white/silver stickers ... and does not require a fastrak account. i also would include your telephone and email info and request they contact you with any problems/questions rather than send it back to you by mail, adding weeks to your journey. i'll happily email you the letter i sent (that worked for me, and a colleague of mine with a GX).

    where do you live and work (areas, not necessarily companies) ... i'll happily give you tips on fill stations , etc.

    epi (brian)
  • ikirikir Posts: 11
    That would be great if you can send me the letter you created and tips. Email: [email protected]
  • ikirikir Posts: 11
    I live in Hercules and work in San Francisco.
  • kate_gkate_g Posts: 8
    "yes, the answer is that bridges are free during carpool hours only. beyond that there is still a lot of confusion ... some will say you need a fastrak, some will say no (i say no!)"

    Epi, have you actually used the HOV lane w/o fastrack on any of the bay area bridges outside commute hours? How often? Have you ever been sent a violation, or are they letting you get away with it? I went over the Carquinez bridge last Saturday but was too chicken to go through the HOV lane without a fastrack.
  • epnfrnepnfrn Posts: 87
    you can't go through an HOV lane outside of carpool hours period. aka. the lanes that are carpool lanes during carpool hours are lit that way, and outside of hours the light is off, and often a cone is in front of the lane. for the bay bridge, they even close down the fly-over lane entirely (except for buses). if the light is off (and there is no cone) do NOT go through them.

    however, now that they are changing things around, it may be that the carpool lane becomes another Fastrak lane outside of carpool hours. if you blow through that, you will absolutely receive a ticket if not a Fastrak member. if you are a Fastrak member, either your transponder will get picked up, or your plates will be photographed and your account charged that way.

    conversely, if you go through a Fastrak lane during carpool hours, you will pay $4 regardless if you are a SUV, Civic GX, or legitimate carpool. they are separate systems, Fastrak controlled and patrolled by Fastrak, and Carpool and Cash lanes via California Highway Patrol and Caltrans. i discussed this directly with those agencies while investigating what rights we smart GX'ers actually have :)

    now if you are going through a carpool lane (during hours, which should be the only time a carpool lane is actually even available to you) with a Fastrak transponder, it will beep as you go through. supposudely it will not charge you, but i believe i and others have been charged. and if you have the long-range model that they give to Hybrids, you will get charged definately. so put it in the mylar bag, lock it in lead, and stick it under your seat :)

    let me know if this didn't answer your question! i've been doing the Carquinez and Bay Bridges every day for the last 12+ months w/out a problem. however, i do have a Fastrak acct, and will use the Fastrak lanes once those Carpool lane lights go out.

    epi (brian)
  • Will they ticket you if you use the carpool lane on the bridge.
    I live in Oakland (California) and I work in Benicia. It is clear that CA DMV has free bridge tolls listed. The golden gate bridge has specific instructions to "bag the tag" or stop and ask the toll taker to void the charge on a fastrak.

    I have read and reread the bridge facilities information and the metropolitan traspo commission info and the dmv and countless other AB bills. It is very hard to find clear and consistent language granting free toll to CNG vehicles.
  • ikirikir Posts: 11
    I received my clean air stickers a few weeks ago and I have been using the carpool lane on the Bay Bridge and I'm not paying toll.
  • epnfrnepnfrn Posts: 87
    i'm a little confused by what the question is ... so forgive me if i repeat things you already know.

    if you have the clean air stickers (and only if!) the rule is that you may go through the carpool lanes on bay area bridges during carpool hours only.

    if you do not have these stickers, you can try going through at your own risk. there is no rule that allows you passage w/out them. however, it may be that you do it 1000 times and never receive a ticket. at your own risk! i personally would not do it w/out stickers on my car.

    if you go through a Fastrak lane, you will be charged. period. even if you are a carpool, even if the transponder is in the bag. Fastrak operates Fastrak lanes, CHP and Caltrans operate carpool lanes.

    there is very limited printed information defining this, but i have been told verbally by Fastrak, the GX expert at Honda in Sacramento, and read it in on PG&E's website where they discuss benefits of CNG. in fact, i've printed that page and put it in my glove box. (you'll have to search for it, i don't know the link)

    i will say that i've been using the carpool lanes for 1.5 years now (2 bridges every day) and have never had a problem.

    i do also have a Fastrak transponder in this car for those times that i cross a bridge outside of carpool hours. it stays in it's mylar bag so that it never signals when i cross through the carpool lane during carpool hours. of course i pull it out when using Fastrak outside of carpool hours.

    bridges that i cross (bay bridge, carquinez) no longer even have carpool lanes outside of carpool hours. they get converted electronically to Fastrak lanes ... so there is no confusion. the bay bridge is extra special b/c it has the flyover carpool lane. outside of carpool hours, that big sign will be lit up that says "BUSES ONLY" ... i doubt you will be able to convince a cop that you are a bus, so wouldn't recommend trying. during carpool hours, you can of course use the flyover just like any other carpool lane (see rules above :)

    let me know if there are any other questions, and i'll happily give them a shot.

  • I just mail in my application for HOV lane sticker week age.
    How long does it take to receive the sticker from DMV?

  • I just called Friday and the lady told me it takes about 4 weeks. when you check has been cleared it is a sign that they got your paperwork.
    In my case I applied with a new car purchase, which was 6 weeks ago. I just got my plates but no HOV stickers. Which may take another 2 weeks, since it would be 4 weeks AFTER issue of the plates (was no 10/30).
    Since you got your plates already it should not take more then 4 weeks.
  • I was thinking of getting one for my wife we live is So.Cal.
    if we were to buy a new one now would she be able to get the
    HOV stickers? I saw one the other day that had Silver stickers? Are those the say as the Yellow ones?

    What is the fuel cost on these? She is driving about 100 each day round trip.

    Will the car last as long as a Gas model? Will the upkeep
    costs be greater?
  • dejapoohdejapooh Posts: 40
    The silver HOV stickers are still available for the Natural Gas Vehicles. There is no limit on them (the limit is what cut off the stickers on the Hybrids). It is not the same, it is better. It allows free parking at meters in several southern California cities (LA, Santa Monica, and more). You are restricted to the time allowed to the meter (if it is a 2 hour meter, you get 2 hours of free parking, then you have to move the car). The Yellow stickers are only good until the end of 2008 or something, the silver ones are good until 2014 i believe (someone back me up on these).

    If she is driving 100 miles each way, make sure she has a home filling unit or a filling station near your home or office (Ideally you should be near on at both locations).

    I am paying $2.56 near my house, and $2.20 near my wife's work. Prices vary widely. Burbank is one of the cheapest stations, LAX is one of the most expensive. I think the most expensive right now is about $2.75 or $2.80.

    Rumor is that because the fuel is so much cleaner than Gasoline, there will be fewer deposits and less wear. Taxis and police cars seem to indicate that a life expectancy of about 400,000 mile to 500,000 miles if you take good care of it.

    The Fuel Filters cost a few hundred dollars to replace every 30,000 miles. The price has been dropping lately as it becomes wider knowledge that you don't need to replace the entire filter, just the insert. Other than that, it is about the same.

    If you buy used, do not buy a used GX between 2001 and 2006. The transmission is not very reliable.
  • epnfrnepnfrn Posts: 87
    transmission issues on 2001 to 2005 ... 2006 is the newest iteration and doesn't have a CVT. i'm sure dejapooh meant this, but just wanted to clarify for you.

    everything else he said is spot on. i'll add that the silver stickers are nicer up here in the Bay Area, as they get you free bridge crossings during commute hours. i cross two bridges on my commute for a savings of $8 / day!

    for current prices (which are as high as i've ever seen them) check out for a google map of CNG stations. i'm regularly paying 2.26 / GGE and get 40mpg.

  • How much dose a tank hold? and how many miles do you get on a tank?

    Do the home fill units cost alot?

    Are the full filters hard to do yourself or do you take it to a dealer to do?

    We have the 91 toll lane and the 241 toll roads done here in So.Cal. dose any one know if the Silver stickers save on the cost of tolls on these?

    Thanks for all the great info and insite guys it is a big help.
  • epnfrnepnfrn Posts: 87
    8 GGE (gas gallon equiv's) ... but probably never be able to put more than 6.7 GGE in. at my current avg of 40mpg, that's about 250+ miles per tank. less with more stop/go or lead-foot.

    Phil or Fuelmakers cost about $4k or so + install. worth it monetarily in the long run, obviously worth it very quickly convenience-wise. search around the site for more info on those...lots here.

    filters can be done by decent garage jockey ... and as dejapooh said, people are realizing that industrial fuel supply (PG&E) is very clean ... so perhaps you may not to replace them very often afterall.

    don't know on toll road.
  • How much are the home fueling units and can you have them installed
    yourself in So.Cal. ?
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 9,099
    The place to talk about home fueling is the All About PHILL discussion.

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  • johnmarcojohnmarco Posts: 22
    I just stopped by my Honda dealer in Huntington Beach, and was told that if I wanted a GX I would have to pay for it up front.

    Did anyone find one on a dealer lot in SoCal and were you able to test drive?

    This seems like the car for me but I at least want to drive it first.
  • epnfrnepnfrn Posts: 87
    shop around... this dealer seems like a hassle! i'm in norcal, so can't give a concrete report, but this seems stange ... it's a $24k car, not a hard-to-find sports car. i hadn't heard of this before with the GX.

  • thebundothebundo Posts: 5
    MUCH harder to find than all but a few sports cars. There is only about 700 or so released to the public for the 2008 model year, and only through a few dealers in CA & NY. And it's NOT a 24k car really, it greatly subsidized by Honda, they are sold at a big loss
  • epnfrnepnfrn Posts: 87
    my point was that not many dealers allow sports cars to be driven before purchase, not rarity. when i bought my S2000 in '03, NO dealer allowed test drives, and most were charging $5k over sticker. when i bought my GX in '06 ... no problem with test drives, and most accepted my bid of $1k under sticker.

    there may be only 700, but demand isn't higher than that (at present). come up to the bay area. ask for the GX specialists at Lodi or Mel Rapton in Sac. they were both incredibly helpful to me.
  • smart888smart888 Posts: 1
    Hello, I'm new, so hi to everyone. :0)

    I recently received in the mail a toll violation for the carquinez bridge. The time was 23:44:08. I was in a car with my family (total 3 passengers). I went through the carpool lane, thinking I wouldn't need to pay toll because I have 3 passengers for carpool. Its the first time I travelled that route, and definitely the first time during such late hours. Unknowing that I was outside of carpool hours, I went through without paying the $4.00 toll, which I am now being penalized for of $29.00.

    I've read in other posts in this forum, that during non-carpool hours, the carpool lane is not available to regular traffic? However, I was able to go through, and honestly believing that I was in carpool and don't have to pay. I also didn't know the toll booth hours operate in that manner, peak and non-peak hours. Seems very confusing for first time travellers.

    Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. In the letter, it also said to sign up for fastrak account to waive the penalty. But that would cost me $20-50, and I will never use the toll tags. Has anyone ever experienced anything similar? Should I contest the ticket? As I recall, I dont' remember seeing any visible signs indicating the hours of operations for that carpool lane. I just passed right through, thinking all is fine.
  • thebundothebundo Posts: 5
    Carpooling is one thing, bridge tolls are another. They only intersect during carppol hours. There is no such thing as a "carpool", legally speaking, outside of carpool hours. The bridge toll is 24 hrs. a day.
  • topaz420topaz420 Posts: 8
    Hi guys, new to the forum!
    I come from a "GX" family -- Sister = 2001, Other Sister = 2007
    And now I'm finally in the market.

    But just wondering: do the 2008s still qualify for HOV stickers
    in California? This is a huge expense for me, and I just want
    to make sure before I dive in (the dealers NEVER know the
    answers to CNG related questions).

  • epnfrnepnfrn Posts: 87
    yep, GX's still qualify for the silver stickers, and should still qualify for $4k tax credit (assuming you don't get hit by AMT).

    as for the Carquinez driver ... no, outside of carpool hours, there is NO lane that says 'carpool' ... during carpool hours, there is, but after hours it changes to 'Fastrak'.

    carpool hours for all roads and bridges in the bay area are posted on signs ... and even if you are a mini with 50 clowns in it, you still have to pay the toll outside of those hours for all bridges.

    i would recommend calling Fastrak and asking if you can work out a deal to pay just the $4. tell them what happened, and perhaps they'll help you out. they aren't all big meanies over there :)
  • ajulianajulian Posts: 12
    Honda says, range of approx 225-250 miles on a natural gas honda civic. How many miles to a gallon and what is the tank size on this vehicle? i live in a condominium and can't have a phil installed. How long does it take to refule the vehicle at a retail location?
  • epnfrnepnfrn Posts: 87
    ajulian -- i don't mind answering, but do look around in these forums a bit ... all of these questions have been answered many times. also - this particular forum is for topics related to HOV access, so perhaps next time put it in a more appropriate forum to get more responses.

    tank ~8 gas gallon equivs ... but you'll probably never be able to fill more than 6.5 - 7.0 GGEs in a given fill.

    public filling - about the same as filling your normal car

    your mileage may vary! i live in the bay area and have a 40 mi commute through the worst traffic (east bay, bay bridge, pennisula) and i consistently get about 40 mp'g' ... so consistently can get 230-260 miles on a tank of 3600 psi. 200-ish on a 3000 psi fill.

    we hope to have you among us soon!

  • I purchased my GX a month ago and received my silver HOV stickers! When I bought the car, the dealer said that the Gold/hybrid HOV stickers have an expiration date, but the Silver/SULEV HOV stickers won't expire. But I don't see this information anywhere on the CA DMV website.

    Any help would be great.

  • freedmlfreedml Posts: 43
    The stickers don't expire, but solo driver HOV Access is scheduled to end 1/1/11. So, unless the program is extended, no more solo carpool lane access after 1/1/11. But, since we have 75,000 Hybrid Friends in our court, I'm guessing the program will be renewed.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    " So, unless the program is extended, no more solo carpool lane access after 1/1/11. But, since we have 75,000 Hybrid Friends in our court, I'm guessing the program will be renewed."

    I don't know, the Feds are upset that the HOV lanes are too slow. That may cause the state to allow the stickers to lapse, since allowing extra vehicles in the lanes is one factor slowing them down. Here is an exerpt from the DMV site (Boldface is from the DMV site):

    Carpool lane use may be restricted at any time by state and federal law for all Clean Air Vehicles carrying fewer occupants than the posted minimum requirement, if their presence is determined by the California Department of Transportation to contribute to increased traffic congestion, increased travel times, decreased sustained travel speeds, or other factors affecting any carpool lane or segment of that lane.
This discussion has been closed.